Progressives generally favor self-executing rights. They must be pleased that the Utah legislature is considering the idea “that condemned criminals be allowed to take their own lives.” Currently they are limited to choosing between being shot or being hung. In support of the proposal, Judge Thomas Marioneux “has issued a statement in which he sets forth the advantages of the Chinese custom permitting a condemned criminal to commit suicide.”
If the measure is adopted, it will be a democratizing development — affording even the most lowly of Utah’s condemned an option typically afforded over the centuries only to members of the upper class, for example, notables such as Socrates, Seneca, and Japan’s samurai. One wonders whether there is anyone in Europe who might also be interested in this idea of self-execution.